County supervisors worry about their district, constituents

Plumas News checked in with three Plumas County Supervisors whose districts are the most directly impacted by the Dixie and Fly fires: District 2 Supervisor Kevin Goss (Indian Valley, the Feather River Canyon, part of Quincy and some of the Highway 70 corridor to Cromberg); District 3 Supervisor Sherrie Thrall (Lake Almanor Basin) and District 4 Supervisor Greg Hagwood (Bucks Lake, Meadow Valley and Quincy).

All three have areas that are under mandatory orders to evacuate, as well as evacuation warnings.

Today Kevin Goss traveled throughout his district and sounded the alarm that there were no strike teams in Taylorsville to help local volunteer firefighters, but by the afternoon help had arrived. A portion of his interview was printed in an earlier article.

Sherrie Thrall said that she has been keeping informed about the fire, but information is not always forthcoming.

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In an in issue related to the extensive evacuations and warnings in her area, she has heard from many individuals who have had their cars packed and ready to go as instructed, but then they have been broken into and their most valuable belongings have been taken. Plumas News has heard of other situations where those who were under mandatory evacuation orders had their vehicles broken into when they were parked at friends’ homes where they have sought sanctuary.

Greg Hagwood said he’s relieved that for the moment, the fire is not directly threatening Quincy, but knows that could change at any time. He is optimistic that the communities of Bucks Lake and Meadow Valley will likewise be spared due to the work of firefighters, but said it also depends on what happens this week as predicted winds and thunderstorms arrive.

But Hagwood was clearly frustrated that the Dixie Fire is posing such a threat to the county — from the Almanor Basin through the Indian Valley, down the Highway 89 corridor, through the Feather River Canyon, up to Bucks Lake and Meadow Valley, Quincy and East Quincy  — because he thinks it didn’t have to happen.

“I think the policies and practices of Cal Fire and the Forest Service aren’t working,” he said. Each year they pull out “the same playbook and get the same results.” He ticked off a list of fires including last year’s Claremont and Bear fires that eventually combined into the North Complex and then roared into Butte County with fatal results.

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He discussed how the Bear Fire smoldered for days until winds pushed it into the inferno that it became. Hagwood said that the agencies describe using “proportional responses” to fires. “There needs to be an over exaggerated initial response,” he said. “If they think one helicopter is needed, they should send four.”

He said that fire officials lament the lack of resources, but an intense initial attack would eliminate the need for the resources that are now demanded when fires grow to the size of the North Complex or the current Dixie Fire.

In addition to the visible losses — homes destroyed and charred landscapes — Hagwood worries about what isn’t as visible, such as business losses, tourism disruption, and mental stress, to name a few concerns. “There needs to be an emphasis on these things,” he said.

All three supervisors said that discussions will be had and lessons learned from this fire, but for now they are hoping that their communities can escape as unscathed as possible.

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